The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West (B&N Exclusive Edition)

by David McCullough

Hardcover(B&N Exclusive Edition)

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The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition includes a previously unpublished lecture by David McCullough.

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough’s subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982131661
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 692
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Visit


West Tisbury, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

July 7, 1933

Place of Birth:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


B.A., Yale University, 1955

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The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
A genelogist dream of historical timeline value for research insight. Must read to give prior knowlegde of our ancestors.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Looking forward to reading this book! My family helped settle Ohio. Many thanks to all of you who complained about the subject material. Now I can't wait!!
Anonymous 9 months ago
It seems like other readers here were expecting a more broad-based overview of the pioneer story of the U.S. Having read a bit about the book, I knew to expect that it was the story of a few families who settled in, and influenced the settling of, the areas near the Ohio River on the heels of the Northwest Ordinance. I found the individual stories compelling, and had to force myself to put the book down each night. McCullough is a first class researcher, but he also knows how to weave the countless letters, diaries, news articles and speeches into a well-paced story that makes you care about the people involved. (Come on - if you're not feeling for the guy who writes a letter proposing marriage to a woman he's never met, on the advice from his wife on her deathbed, who also had never met her, well, you may be lacking empathy!) For me, some of the most compelling writing comes from letters and journals of Manasseh Cutler, a pastor/scientist who was instrumental in getting the Northwest Ordinance passed, and who, along with his son Ephraim, worked tirelessly to ensure that slavery would never scar the territory. The accounts from Manassah Cutler's diary of dealing with elected officials of the day reads like a who's who, and gives insight into the thinking and character of the politicians of the day. Everyone experiences this sort of story differently, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. P.S. The BN-exclusive version has a short essay at the end from one of his speeches on the importance of studying history. You have to get past the index and endnotes, but it's worth it.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Was expecting more than the settlement of the Ohio river valley. The title is miss leading.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Nice story about Ohio. What about Indiana Michigan and Wisconsin.
FlyerFan 10 months ago
Starts out REALLY slow and I was in a panic that it would stay that way, but it doesn't. Not my favorite book of his but it's definitely a good read!
Anonymous 15 days ago
Anonymous 20 days ago
This was another wonderful book by one of my favorite authors. As he often does, he tells the story through a few major characters (Manasseh Cutler, Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam, Cutler’s son Ephraim, and a few others) as they settled what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River. (Obviously, the settlement of the Northwest Territory is an immense topic, and he could have written about other people and other areas.) If you have any interest in the settlement of Ohio (or any settlement on the Ohio River), you will love this book.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I can understand the negative comments from the perspective that the title is overblown compared to the content. I expected a MUCH broader coverage rather than just the Ohio river valley. McCullough seems to have "mailed" this one in ... then again he is getting on in years !! However, I enjoyed learning about a period of our history that I was not familiar with.. so I'd rate it between 3 & 4 stars...
Anonymous 4 months ago
gained insights and knowledge of an era i had known nothing about. edifying..
Anonymous 4 months ago
I really enjoyed the author's previous books, BUT...I think he wrote this one for a mortgage payment. Terrible, just about settling Ohio, nothing about Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
I found myself not wanting to read too much of it at one sitting because then it would have been over. Highly recommended.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 8 months ago
jimbo7296 8 months ago
Waited over a month to get early edition. What a disappointment -- the author who usually provides extensive and detailed background and NEVER lets a reader down, fumbled the ball in this instance. He must have been in a hurry for a publishing deadline and ran out of time in the Ohio territories when he all of a sudden had established a government and educational system in the territory without telling the reader how they got there! Save your money and time on this one.
Creature 8 months ago
I am very disappointed with book. I bought the audio version and found out that it is only 10 chapters. The book is all about the Ohio River Title. Frankly, I really don't care about that. I thought the title would cover all of the states that's why I bought it after all it is supposed to be about The Pioneer's but its not. I am going to return this book for a refund
Anonymous 9 months ago
First book of his that has disappointed. Entirely about the Ohio Valley. Should have been a section in a much bigger book. Nothing memorable here.
Anonymous 10 months ago
mfhs8502 More than 1 year ago
I was extremely disappointed. Nothing like the advertisement. More like a social itinerary, no dialogue or the accomplishments at the meeting points . Other than reading famous historial people's names, I learned more from completelely fictitious novels written during this period. I didn't get past book/chapter 1